When folks ask me, "So, what was your fave city in Portugal? Porto or Lisbon?", the answer is easy. Porto wins, hands down. I lost track of the amount of times we said, "OMG, I LOVE this place!"
Stunning monuments, amazing restaurants and bars, incredible views, delicious port wine... how could you not fall in love with this city?
With Porto, it was love at first sight. The further we got as we made our way through the steep and narrow maze of streets in a deliberately random fashion down to the waterfront, the more I fell in love. Every corner is a feast for the eyes — like beautiful historic buildings with colourful facades covered in azulejos tiles.
There's plenty to take in wandering the hilly streets and without even knowing it, we end up seeing quite a few of Porto's must sees, like:
As well as a ton of churches:
Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso right across from our hotel
The famous (tourist-trap) Majestic Café
Shots of Porto as we wander aimlessly towards the Douro River — Mercado Ferreira Borges (middle right)
Monument to Henry the Navigator in Jardim do Infante Dom Henrique
Paper lanterns hanging in a street in Porto
Beautiful architecture and churches everywhere — Torre dos Clerigos (upper right)
The typical narrow houses of Porto
There are so many churches! Here's a few: Clérigos Church, Igreja do Carmo, Church of São Francisco de Assis
Igreja Monumento de São Francisco
We've meandered our way down to Ribeira (literally riverside in Portuguese), and I think I'm falling even more for Porto. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Porto, it's the historic centre as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and if you ask me, this is where you'll find Porto's soul.
Along Cais da Ribeira is strip of cafés, restaurants and shops overlooking the water and the Port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia (more on that in a separate post!) on the other side of the Douro river. The cais is the ideal place for a leisurely riverside walk and to check out the spectacular arched ironwork of the Ponte Luís I that dominates the waterfront. And since Porto is known as the 'City of Bridges', it's also the best place to hop on a river cruise that will take you cruising by the six bridges of the Douro river.
There's more to come on the other side of the river (probably my fave part), the Douro Valley, and a couple of secret spots, so stay tuned!
Finally made it down to the Douro
Colourful houses along Cais da Estiva
Coming up to Praça da Ribeira
Praça da Ribeira
Since one is leaving, we hop on a river cruise
View of the Ribeira area from the river
Checking out all the bridges in Porto on this one-hour river cruise
View of Vila Nova de Gaia from the Douro River
Some great views during the cruise, some unexpected 😂
Off the cruise, just in time for golden hour over Porto
Also in time, to catch some dudes diving into the river beside the bridge
Good night Porto
Photos taken | written by JENNIFER MAHON
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